Actually, you should always wear shoes everywhere. It’s not my most adventurous quality, but I have a weird thing with feet. Just wear shoes, there are very few reasons not to. I’m not talking about starving 3rd world kids that can’t afford shoes. Even the very poor here were not what we, as Americans, envision when we think of poor Africans, no distended abdomens or flies. Okay, there were some flies, but I think it was unrelated.
We spent the morning on the beach at Kendwa Rocks before taking cab to Stone Town. Now, the beach is one of the very few reasons not wear shoes. The rules are different there, you can go shoeless and sleep outdoors in public. That’s why I didn’t notice right away when Dave remained shoeless on the walk to the cab.
I’ll admit, I did notice once inside the cab, but was too polite to say anything. It was actually one of the cleanest cabs I’ve ever been in. It didn’t smell like urine at all. It must have been new.
The main problem arose when the cab stopped and dropped us off in Stone Town.
These are streets you need to wear shoes on.
It was only a few feet before we stopped and got shoes out of our luggage, but that was a few feet too many. That was the first of a few first world problems that day.
Once we got the shoe situation taken care of I was feeling much better. We stopped into a cafe on the water and had what was a pretty impressive looking cappuccino.
By this time I had gotten pretty accustomed to instant coffee and powdered milk, so this was a welcome treat, and it came with a view of the shipyard.
After getting properly caffeinated, we met up with the Dave’s friends that we would be staying with in Stone Town. Before heading to the house, we stopped to pick up a few things at the market. This is where I experienced my second first world break down.
Most of our time at the market was spent with my purse clutched close to my body at the recommendation of my companions, but when we reached the fish market I couldn’t resist.
Unfortunately you can’t get the full experience from a photo. Most of the horror arose from the smell, the amount of flies, and worst of all… people without shoes. If there were ever a place you need to absolutely wear shoes, this is it. Not to mention there was a guy behind me, that I couldn’t look directly at, clubbing a large eel.
Now, I know this makes me sound like a real princess. I love fish, and I do realize that this is probably the freshest fish you’ll find, but if there is one thing I found out on this trip, it’s that I am in fact a privileged American. I just needed to take baby steps.
It should be noted that I did eat fish and prawns from the fish market, just not as sashimi like these guys.
I didn’t want to spend the rest of my time in Africa with a weird fish parasite. Baby steps.
One of the nicer stores in the market, that was apparently very new and exciting for the locals was called the “Quality Shop”, but referred to by everyone as “The American Shop”. Obviously I needed to check this out.
I’ll admit that all of the products were familiar, but not necessarily a great snapshot of the American diet. Everyone was shocked to learn how infrequently most adults I know actually eat Pop Tarts. My hosts however, did have their first Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup experience, which as an American, I’ll gladly stand behind.
You’re welcome guys!
After picking up supplies at the market we made it back to the house I would be staying at for the next two days. I finally understood why people lived in Stone Town, (though the market would still be a bit much).
And what a view!
(not to mention a great dog!)
Yes, I could get used to this. In fact for this, I could probably even get used to the fish market (as long as I don’t have to watch an eel being clubbed ever again in my life.)
Just steps out of the back gate was a gorgeous beach.
Even the dog appreciated it.
That night we went out to a local restaurant where everyone seemed to know each other. The community there was much smaller than it seemed from the busy market place. This is also where I found out you could buy to-go beer and drink it on the drive home. They also have a system where you can buy beer at a significant discount if you bring in the empty bottles from your last beer. There is a similar system for sodas in glass bottles. There is a bottle deposit that you get back when you return your bottles. It’s a great idea recycling-wise, but also keeps broken glass out of the streets, allowing people to walk around shoeless. So, it’s kind of a mixed bag.
The next afternoon we got to further explore Stone Town. We went to a restaurant called 6 Degrees South for lunch. It was a very nice restaurant, with excellent cocktails
(though they were a bit confused about the po’boy).
Best of all it had a great view of the water.
Of course, I didn’t come all the way to Zanzibar for a po’ boy, so I ordered from the Local Zanzibari Favourites section of the menu.
Now admittedly, there are at least half a dozen words on here that I don’t understand, but I went with the Ndizi Na Nyama.
It was very good, and pretty similar to Indian food.
After lunch we wondered around Stone Town for a bit.
I saw the shopping everyone back in Arusha was so excited about.
But best of all, I got to see this house that Queen front man Freddie Mercury may or may not have been born in. Apparently there are several spots in town that boast this claim to fame.
I like to think that infant Freddie Mercury has a similar photo.
When it was time to leave we wound through narrow confusing streets for quite sometime before asking for directions from a local that wanted us to pay him to ride his bike in front of us and show us the way. When we refused he told us, “You’re just going to get lost again.”
He was right, but I would still rather be lost in my own car than have to take public transportation.
In spite of my few first world freak outs, I really loved Stone Town. It was warm, gorgeous, and full of good food, friendly people, and stunning architecture.
I was well received by the mosquitoes there too.
I’m told that Zanzibar doesn’t have malaria. So far, so good, but I’ll be more confident in that in a few months.